Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This coming Sunday we get one of the biggest shows of the year, possibly in fact the show of the year, as Pacquiao fever takes over Malaysia for a stacked card with 4 world title fights, and a number of notable under-card fights.
The main event will see Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38) challenge WBA Welterweight champion Lucas Martin Matthysse (39-4-0-1, 36) in what is really a must win for both men. The Filipino icon, 39, hasn't fought in over a year with his last outing being a controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn in Australia. In fact we now need to go back to November 2016 to find Pacquiao's last win, which came against Jessie Vargas. At his best Pacquiao was a destructive dervish in the ring, but he is several years beyond his best. Matthysse also looks to be on the slide, and looked like a shadow of himself last time out against Teerachai Kratingdaenggym. Although a dynamite puncher, with under-rated skills, Matthysse can be out boxed, and can be made to look slow and predictable. We're not sure what to expect here, but with both men being past their prime neither can really afford a loss.
In another of the world title bouts we'll see former IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (35-2, 24) look to reclaim that title as he faces South Korean based Pakistani Muhammad Waseem (8-0, 6). The IBF Flyweight title became when Donnie Nietes vacated it, to move up to Super Flyweight, and as a result we have a brilliant match up here. At his best Mthalane was a leading Flyweight, an aggressive but technically sound fighter with wins against the likes of Hussein Hussein, Julio Cesar Miranda, Zolani Tete, Johnriel Casime and Ricardo Nunez. Sadly though the former champion is now 35, ancient for a Flyweight. Waseem on the other hand was on the fast track to the top to begin his career, but financial issues have slowed his rise and he's spent the last year treading water to keep off ring rust. At his best Waseem is an excellent boxer, but this is easily his toughest test to date. This could be a really high class contest.
Another of the title fights could, potentially, be an historic one. The bout in question sees WBA Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (20-0-1, 16) defending his belt against Chinese novice Lu Bin (1-0, 1). The Chinese 23 year old is looking to become the new record holder for the fewest fights to win a world title, doing so in 2 fights, and the confidence of Bin suggests he believes he can do it. He was a former amateur stand out and, like Vasyl Lomachenko, wanted to be fast tracked in the professional ranks. A win for Bin really would raise the bar for what is expected of true “super prospects”. Canizales on the other hand is looking for his first defense, after winning the title against Reiya Konishi earlier this year. The Venezuelan puncher is a fearsome fighter who's only set back was a split decision draw with Ryoichi Taguchi, and coming into this bout he may well be the best fighter at 108lbs, though obviously has stiff competition from the likes of Ken Shiro. We suspect Canizales will be the favourite but Bin is not there to roll over and lose.
The 4th world title bout will see Filipino Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16) battle against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1, 12) for the WBA “interim” Featherweight title. The talented Tepora has long been tipped as one of the most promising young Filipino fighters and has picked up a number of minor titles in recent years but this is a big step up from the likes of Lusanda Komanisi, who Tepora stopped in eye opening fashion last September. The Filipino is flawed but has lights out power and will be a very dangerous fighter to go toe-to-toe with. Ortega is an all-action fighter with a come forward pressure style. He has scored notable wins over the likes of Juan Carlos Carlos Sanchez Jr, Tomas Rojas and Drian Francisco, but has never been in with someone who has power like Tepora. We're expecting to see Ortega bring the action and Tepora look for counters in what could be an absolute barn burner.
The under-card here is littered with great match ups, including a bout between unbeaten Chinese fighter Yongqiang Yang (10-0, 7) and once beaten Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), in what really could be a very special bout. Another good looking contest will see the hard hitting Filipino Jayar Inson (16-1, 11) taking on Aussie foe Terry Tzouramanis (20-3-3, 3) in what could be a very exciting contest.
As well as the big Malaysian show there will also be a smaller, though somewhat notable, card in Aichi.
The main event of this Aichi card will see 2017 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Musashi Mori (6-0, 5) battling against Filipino foe Allan Vallespin (12-2, 9). The 18 year old Mori is one to watch, blessed with natural power, speed and skills he appears to be a fighter who could find himself in the title mix in 2 or 3 years, if he can continue to rack up wins. On paper this is a notable step up in class for the Japanese teenager, given that Vallespin's only losses have come to very decent fights in the form of Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk. This is a a really interesting bout and a very tough test for Mori.
Also on this card is the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (5-1, 5), who takes on Suntorn Panhom (2-2, 1) on Thailand. The Japanese fighter came runner up in the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight and has since bounced back with a stoppage over Shuto Takase in April. This will be his first bout against a non-Japanese fighter. Panhom comes into this on the back of back-to-back losses and we're not expecting him to to handle the power of Iimi, at all.
There is also a small card in Korea courtesy of the KBA.
The headline bout here will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) defending her title against Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-7, 4). Choi, the only current Korean world champion, will be looking to extend her reign and increase her profile with this win as she attempts to make her 6th defense of the title. The champion, a tall and rangy fighter, should be strongly favoured, but Gomez has fought at world level before and has proven to be no push over against the likes of Jackie Nava.
Also on this card will be Ji Hyun Park (22-3, 6), who will be up against a Thai foe. The Korean is a IFBA, WIBA and WIBF world champion who will be looking to add a WBF International Minimumweight title to her collection. Although she's a multi-time title winner Park was beaten last time out in a WBO world title fight by Kayoko Ebata, in what was her first defeat in over a decade. We suspect she'll be back to winning ways here.
The rising generation of Japanese fighters was seen last week when Hiroto Kyoguchi became a world champion in just his 8th professional fight. This coming Saturday we again see two young Japanese fighters looking to continue their rise, one is a stablemate of Kyoguchi's at the Watanabe gym whilst the other is another heavy handed Minimumweight, and a potential future foe for Kyoguchi.
The main event will see Kyoguchi's stable mate Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) look to make his first defense of the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on fellow hard hitter Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5) in what looks like a potentially brilliant fire fight. Neither of these men are the most skilled, but both can bang and both like to let their hands go. On paper Kuga should be the favourite, with his higher level of experience and move proven credentials, but Tamura can hit and could be a nightmare in a potential slugfest.
The other main bout will see Tsubasa Koura (10-0, 7) face off with Filipino Jaysever Abcede (14-6, 9), with the winner looking to become the new OPBF Minimumweight champion, claiming a title last held by the aforementioned Kyoguchi. Koura's rise has been great and he really shone last year, stopping Jeffrey Galero in an opening performance, but Abcede cannot be over-looked and he holds a massive win himself, stopping Pigmy Kokietgym just a few fights back. The winner here will put themselves in the mix for a world title bout and both will feel confidence that they can claim the victory, and the title.
In a supporting bout we'll see Naoya Okamoto (10-6-1, 5) take on Gaku Aikawa (8-4-1, 2) in a decent low level domestic bout. Neither of these guys are ranked, but they will be facing off in a nice looking 8 rounder, and the winner will certainly give their career a boost in the arm, which could do the world of good going forward.
In Hyogo we get a West Japan Rookie of the Year Card. As with many of these Rookie of the Year cards there are no names of note, but there are some interesting bout.
One of those bouts will see 30 year old Takafumi Minobe (1-0) take on teenager Rikuto Adachi (5-0, 2) in a bout at Welterweight. Given the lack of depth in Japan at 147lbs the winner of the Rookie of the Year can find themselves in the title picture rather quickly, and that could be the case if the winner of this can go all the way to the Rookie crown in December.
The most even bout on the show will see 20 year old Nozomi Yamashoji (2-0, 1) take on 21 year old Temin Kimura (2-0, 1). The two Super Featherweights have identical records, with Kimura being slightly older Yamashoji have a single round more experience. Although the two are similar it does need noting that Yamashoji has been out of the ring for more than a year, and that could show here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fight fans get a low level card littered with notable names.
The most notable of those names is 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (24-3-1, 20 ), who fights in a 10 round bout against journeyman Silem Serang (8-13-1, 1). Originally Taconing was supposed to be defending his WBC International Light Flyweight title but that appears to be off, likely with Serang not being eligible for the title given his recent form, with 5 losses in his last 6.
The card also features some unbeaten prospects. One of those is the heavy handed Abraham Bullagay (9-0-1, 9), who looks to record a 10th win as he takes on veteran Ryan Tampus (11-19, 8) in a bout scheduled for 8. Given that Tampus has been stopped 8 times in 11 bouts it's hard to imagine him coming out on top here. Another unbeaten puncher on this card is Arvin Magramo (5-0, 4), who was originally pencilled in to take on Anecito Padillo (3-2, 2) though it now seems Padillo has removed from boxrec.com so it's unclear who Magramo will be facing.
A third unbeaten prospect in action here is Bryan Ascano (7-0-1, 2), who takes part in a good looking 6 rounder against Jules Victoriano (5-1, 4), in what should be the best bout on the show, and is clearly the most well matched.
The card also featured Wilbert Berondo (10-2-1, 4), who looked to get his career back on track following a 0-2-1 run including a loss to Hinata Maruta. The Filipino youngster will be up against domestic journeyman Ruben Traza (4-12-4, 1) in what should be an easy confidence builder for Berondo.
For a second day running we get low level Chinese action in Jinan, with the card scheduled to have 8 bouts of 4 rounds on it, with no notable names at all in action.
Puerto Armuelles, Panama
Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (6-0, 4) will fight for the second time in the space of weeks as he takes on Ivan Trejos (7-7-2, 1) in a stay busy fight in Panama. His promoter, Andy Kim, is putting on the show and will be keeping Waseem busy along with a number of other AK fighters, though it does seem like Waseem's rapid rise has sadly faltered this year.
Seoul, South Korea
For a second day running Korean fans get some action, and this time it features arguably the most exciting fighter to be based in Korea in recent years.
That Korean based fighter is Silver Flyweight champion WBC Muhammad Waseem (4-0, 3), the Pakistani born world ranked Flyweight hopeful. Waseem will be defending his title for the first time as he takes on unbeaten Korean Giemel Magramo (17-0, 13) in a really good step up for both men, Both have been earmarked for success and so to see the two facing off really says a lot about their desire and the courage of their respective teams, who clearly don't want to waste more time before seeing how good their fighter really is. It's though that if Waseem wins he will be moved towards a 2017 world title fight, but a win here is far from a foregone conclusion for the “Falcon”.
The key under-card bout on this show will see teenager I Hoon Jung (4-2-1, 3) battle against Gyu Won Lee (3-1-1, 2) in a 10 rounder. The bout might not get much international attention but it is certainly a very decent match up and one that should provide some good, hard hitting action.
The more interesting of two Japanese cards comes from Kagoshima and has several interesting match ups, even if they don't feature anything in the way of notable names.
The main event of the card will see Naoya Haruguchi (10-7, 4) battle against Thai visitor Thongchai Chaiyonggym (0-4) in a bout that looks like a mismatch, though could prove to be a more competitive fight than it first looks. Haruguchi has shown touches of potential but it seems likely that he isn't going to make a mark on the title scene, however he will be too good for the visitor here.
An interesting looking support bout will see Mitsuyoshi Fujita (9-2, 3) battle the once beaten Genki Maeda (4-1, 1) in a really solid match up between two fighters who will be both be looking to claim a win here. Both are limited but both are hungry and they should make for a very competitive match up together.
One other notable supporting bout will see Sho Yamamoto (6-7-1, 2) face Ken Kodama (7-2-1, 2) in a match up that promises to be much more competitive than the records of the two men suggests. Yamamoto will be the under-dog but is a very live under-dog here whilst isn't as good as his 7-2-1 record suggests.
A second Japanese show comes from Aichi where we see a famous name in action and an intriguing main event.
The famous name is that of Hatanaka, however it's not former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka but instead his son Kento Hatanaka (0-0) who makes his professional debut as he faces Takaaki Murakami (0-2). The bout isn't a big one, and Hatanaka is certainly not expected to be fast tracked to a world title fight, but it comes exactly 32 years after his father's debut and it comes at the same venue as Kiyoshi's debut back in 1984.
Whilst Hatanaka's debut will get some attention it's not the main event, that honour will be held by a bout between the heavy handed Takuya Mizuno (9-1-1, 9) and unknown Indonesian hopeful Jundullah M Fauzan (3-0). Mizuno might not be the best fighter but he is very heavy handed and has the potential to go a long way, with his power alone. Fauzan is promising fighter himself but this is a big ask for the travelling fighter here.
Seoul, South Korea
This coming Sunday isn't a stacked day in Asian boxing but it could be a day where were learn a lot about one of the most promising fighters in Asia, who we suspect will be given his first real gut check.
That promising fighter is former Pakistani amateur stand out Muhammad Waseem (3-0, 3) who takes of former world title challenger Jether Oliva (24-5-2, 11) in a bout for the vacant WBC silver Flyweight title, essentially moving the winner to within a step or two of a world title bout. Waseem only turned professional last year but has quickly impressed with a trio of stoppage wins and looks to continue his progress here against a very capable Oliva. For Oliva, who has fought a reltive who's who of the lower weights, this is a bout that he must win if he's to remain relevant, it is however a big ask against a fighter who some suspect could go on to become the first Pakistani born world champion.
In the chief support bout fans will see Korean Eun Chang Lee (9-4, 5) take on Indonesian visitor Maxi Nahak (6-11-2, 2) WBA Asia Middleweight champion and seems to see this as a chance of getting some sort of recognition with the WBC, for Nahak the bout is a chance to score his most notable win so far, though he has lost 3 of his last 5 and will be the massive under-dog here.
Seoul, South Korea
As well as the above show there will be another Korean show, this one being held by Buffalo Promotion and held under the banner of the KBF. Like the other Korean show this one will also in Seoul.
The main event of this one will be a KBF Middleweight title bout and should feature 8 under-card bouts.
We don't often see Japanese fighters on the road but today there will be three Japanese fighters fighting outside of their homeland, whilst we get a lot of other action.
Seoul, South Korea
One of those aforementioned Japanese fighters will be the unbeaten Shohei Kawashima (12-0-2, 3) who faced off against Korean Jin Wook Lim (7-3-5, 1) in a 10 round bout to headline a KBF show in Seoul. According to the KBF a regional title will be on the line for this bout, though unclear which title. One think is for sure however, and that is Kawashima will be expecting to get a win here, something that perhaps can't be said of the other Japanese fighters on the road.
Also on this card is a KBF Super Flyweight title fight. That bout will see Yo Han Bae (6-2-1, 1)* battle against Pil Joon Kim (6-3, 3)*. The title is vacant and this is a great chance for the winner to make their first real mark on the Korean national scene.
Seoul, South Korea
Staying in Seoul the KBC will also be sanctioning a card with the most notable action here being a bout between KBF Bantamweight champion Muhammad Waseem (2-0, 2), a Korean based former Pakistani amateur standout, and Indonesian visitor John Bajawa (11-12, 7). From what we've seen of Waseem this seems likely to be little more than a stay busy bout for the very promising unbeaten man, who looks likely to go on to bigger and better things in the near future.
Going back to Japanese fighters on the road, another will be Ryohei Takahashi (8-1-1, 1) who is in Victoria to face Andrew Moloney (5-0, 3) for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. This is a really tough match up for Takahashi, who will be fighting outside of Japan for the first time, though the pressure is on Moloney who some have tipped as a potential star for Australian boxing.
A second WBA Oceania title bout will also take place on this card and will see Indonesia's Junior Bajawa (14-6, 7) battle another of the Maloney brothers, Jason Moloney (5-0, 5), in a bout for the Super Bantamweight title. This is a massive ask for Bajawa who is unlikely to see out more than a few rounds with Moloney, who is a very exciting Australian prospect.
The final of the Japanese fighters on the road is Mari Ando (12-8, 5), who travels to México to face local star Ibeth Zamora Silva (24-5, 9) for the WBC female Light Flyweight title. Ando is attempting to become the second female 3-weight champion from Japan, following Naoko Fujioka, though she is up against one of the best female pound-for-pound fighters on the planet and is going to need to have a career best performance to over-come “La Roca”.
Back in Asia there will be a low profile card in Kunming, where SECA and Top Rank continue to try and build Chinese boxing. The card doesn;'t have any notable fighters on it, though we are interested to see how the unbeaten A Fu Bai (6-0, 3) does, as he faces the win-less Jiang Nan (0-1) in a 6 rounder.
The first really notable day of the month for Japanese fans comes on December 5th, a really busy day with name fighters in action across Asia.
In one of the most intriguing bouts fans will get the chance to see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Yu Kawaguchi (23-7, 10) battle against Keisuke Tabuchi (9-3-2, 7), in what is essentially a must win for Kawaguchi. The 28 year old former champion was stopped last time out against Takahiro Yamamoto, in a genuinely enthralling 7 round brawl, and will know that any except for a stellar performance here would leave his career in tatters. As for Tabuchi he's lost 2 of his last 3, though they have come in the 2014 Rookie of the Year and a 8 round loss to former world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka. Hard to see Kawaguchi losing, but if he does he will have to consider his future.
Whilst Kawaguchi is fighting for his career it's fair to say that Kazuki Tanaka (3-0, 3) is merely fighting for recognition. The talented youngster, a former amateur stand out, takes a huge step up in class as he takes on GAB Bantamweight champion Monico Laurente (27-12, 6). Those in the know have suggested that Tanaka, 22, could be another of Japan's huge list of future stars however the youngster has been relatively untested so far. In Laurente we'll see Tanaka face a man with experience, grit, determination and skills, and we'd be very impressed if the youngster can really dominate here in what is a great step up in class.
Whilst Kawaguchi is a former OPBF champion we actually have a former world champion in action too as Shindo Go (15-3, 10), a former WBC female Flyweight champion, faces Suda Saknarong (0-0) in a stay busy bout. We're expect to see Go fight for a major title in 2016 however she's fighting this bout to shake off any ring rust after a frustrating year of inactivity, in fact she's only fought 3 rounds all year.
Technically the main event here will see Japan's Takayuki Okumoto (15-6-2, 6) take on unbeaten Filipino teenager Romel Oliveros (6-0-1, 1). The bout certainly isn't the most exciting on paper but it seems likely that Okumoto could get a Japanese title fight next year if he comes through this one unscathed. The home fighter has won his last 5, since suffering a stoppage loss more than 2 years ago to Rusalee Samor, whilst the visitor will, perhaps tellingly, be facing his first opponent with a winning record.
On a second Japanese card fans will again get a lot of good action, in fact the card is headlined by a 2-time world title challenger.
That aforementioned world title challenger is Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18), who was last seen in the ring being stopped, for the first time, by Pungluang Sor Singyu in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The former OPBF champion will be looking to score his second win over Toyoto Shiraishi (25-8-3, 12), who he stopped in their first meeting around 4 years ago. Since their first bout Akaho has had both of his world title tilts whilst Shiraishi has come up short in a pair of title fights, most notably a Japanese title fight against Teiru Kinoshita. This is likely to be another win for Akaho, though if it's not he will have to consider his future.
In supporting bouts on this card we have a trio of Japanese ranked fighters. The highest ranked of those is Light Middleweight contender Yuto Shimizu (10-2-2, 3) who has been in great form recently, scoring wins over Toru Chiba, Takehiro Shimokawara and Yosuke Kirima. Shimizu looks to continue his current 7 fight winning run as he takes on the limited Maxi Nahak (4-10-2, 1), from Indonesia. It's really hard to see anything but a Shimizu win here, and hopefully he'll get a title shot in 2016.
On paper the most attractive match up involving a ranked fighter, other than the main event where Shiraishi enters as a ranked fighter, comes at Super Flyweight where the JBC ranked Yuta Matsuo (8-2-1, 5) takes on southpaw Yota Hori (12-4-2, 7) in a really solid match up. Coming into this Matsuo is 3-2-1 in his last 6, though held his own in a split decision loss to Ardin Diale in one of those defeats.
The other ranked fighter is Hironobu Matsunaga (7-1, 3), who us ranked at 147lbs. Matsunaga will be risking his ranking against Shiro Saito (7-5-2, 2). Matsunaga's most notable bout to date is his loss, which came in last year's Rookie of the Year final against Yuki Beppu, and whilst that was a blow out he's cetainly proven himself since with a very good win over Hisao Narita. Saito on the other hand has gone 2-3-1 in his last 6, and was last seen being stopped in 3 rounds by Moon Hyun Yun in a loss that may play on his mind coming into this one.
In Thailand fans will have a chance to see Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (1-0, 1) who will be up against Indonesian fighter Suparyanto Doglo (7-2-1, 4). Waseem, who won the Korean Super Flyweight title on his debut, will be looking to continue his perfect start to life as a professional and it seems likely that if he wins again here he could be moved into regional title fights in 2016, with the PABA title a very real target for 2016.
We're unsure but we think the same card will feature two televised bout as well as the Waseem bout. One of those, set to be shown on Channel 7, will see Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (33-1-2, 18) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title against Julias Kisarawe (21-2, 11) in what looks to be a brilliant match up on paper, something we can't say often enough about Thailand. Sadly whilst the bout does “look” good it's likely to be a mismatch with Kisarawe's opposition so far being relatively appalling, in fact it sort of resembles a Thai record with very little experience share between his opponents.
The other bout will see former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (57-2, 38) battle against Nattapol Sithsaithong (0-2) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for Chonlatarn, who won't be given a test here.
To end the day our attention will turn to Mexico where Japan's Hurricane Futa (20-5-1, 11) faces off against former multi-weight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (58-10, 49). This is a really tough ask for Futa though we'll be honest and say that Gonzalez did look really bad last time out, losing a decision to Jonathan Oquendo, and this may be the perfect time to face him.
Incheon, South Korea
It's fair to say that Korean boxing has been lacking in terms of name value an even attention grabbing action over the last few years. This coming Sunday however we see that change as Korea hosts a former world champion and a former amateur stand out as AK Promotions give us possibly the most notable Korean show since Koki Kameda defended the WBA Bantamweight title in the country a couple of years ago.
A lot of the attention for this show has been garnered due to former world champion Randall Bailey (45-8-0-1, 38), the American “KO King” who was arguably the hardest puncher, pound-for-pound, in the sport at one point. The American veteran, a multi-weight champion, has signed with Korean group AK Promotions who have immediately thrown him into a title bout with Japanese fighter Shusaku Fujinaka (12-5-2, 8). The two men, who will be trading blows for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title, are very different fighters, with Bailey being a crafty veteran with a stick of dynamite in his right hand and Fujinaka being an aggressive and attacking fighter who should bring the pressure.
Whilst a lot of the attention from the West is on Bailey he's not the only AK fighter making his Korean debut, in fact Pakistan's Muhammad Waseem (0-0) is going one further as he makes his debut and takes on Min Wook Lee (2-2) in a bout for the Korean (KBC) Bantamweight title. Although not a big name, like Bailey, Waseem is potentially the man who could help kick start the Pakistan boxing. Although making his professional debut there is real excitement about Waseem and his team aren't scared of throwing him in a 10 round to kick things off.
As well as the two title bouts the card also has a deep under-card. Whilst a number of those bouts are competitive looking one of the bouts really stands out, that's a 6 rounder between Korean veteran Taek-Min Kim (15-7, 10) and Filipino visitor Ryan Sermona (17-7, 10). This, on paper, is a brilliant match up and may potentially steal the show. Kim is rarely in a dull fight and often relies on his toughness and power, rather than skills, and Sermona will likely go to Korea feeling he needs a stoppage, as a result this could be something very special.
For fight fans wanting to tune in to this one, and potentially see the final bout of Randall Bailey, the card will be aired on Korean TV on SBS Sports.